Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
4 3 2 1

4 3 2 1

A Novel

Paul Auster; read by the author

Macmillan Audio

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Man Booker Prize Nominee

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Macmillan Audio

Macmillan Audio

01/31/2017

ISBN: 9781427282798

36:55:0

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This program is narrated by—and includes a bonus interview with—the author.

Paul Auster’s greatest, most heartbreaking and satisfying novel—a sweeping and surprising story of birthright and possibility, of love and of life itself: a masterpiece.

Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, listeners will take in each Ferguson’s pleasures and ache from each Ferguson’s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson’s life rushes on.

As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that listeners have never heard from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.

Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, NPR Best Book of the Year, Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, Man Booker Prize Nominee, Washington Post Best Books of the Year, New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year

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According to family legend, Ferguson’s grandfather departed on foot from his native city of Minsk with one hundred rubles sewn into the lining of his jacket, traveled west to Hamburg through...

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Paul Auster’s greatest, most heartbreaking and satisfying novel—a sweeping and surprising story of birthright and possibility, of love and of life itself: a masterpiece. Narrated by the author.

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Reviews

Praise for 4 3 2 1

"[Paul] Auster's deep understanding of his characters, soothing baritone, and skillful pacing...deliver an immensely satisfying experience overall for listeners"
-AudioFile Magazine

"[Paul] Auster’s compelling, mesmerizing voice so embodies all the Fergusons that “4321” is ...worth an entire week’s worth of listening." -Winston-Salem Journal

",,,[I]nnovative, captivating and brilliantly crafted...Auster's compelling baritone voice." -Inside Jersey

“An epic bildungsroman . . . . Original and complex . . . . It’s impossible not to be impressed – and even a little awed – by what Auster has accomplished. . . . A work of outsize ambition and remarkable craft,a monumental assemblage of competing and complementary fictions, a novel that contains multitudes.”—Tom Perrotta, The New York Times Book Review

“A stunningly ambitious novel, and a pleasure to read. Auster’s writing is joyful even in the book’sdarkest moments, and never ponderous or showy. . . . An incredibly moving, true journey.”—NPR

Ingenious . . . . Structurally inventive and surprisingly moving. . . . 4 3 2 1 reads like [a] big social drama . . . while also offering the philosophical exploration of oneman’s fate.”—Esquire

Mesmerizing . . . Continues to push the narrative envelope. . . . Four distinct characters whose lives diverge and intersect in devious, rollicking ways, reminiscent of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. . . . Prismatic and rich in period detail, 4 3 2 1 reflects the high spirits of postwar America as well as the despair coiled, asplike, in its shadows.”—O, the Oprah Magazine

Sharply observed . . . . Reads like a sprawling, 19th-century novel.”—The Wall Street Journal

Ambitious and sprawling . . . . Immersive . . . . Auster has a startling ability to report the world in novel ways.”—USA Today

“The power of [Auster’s] best work is . . . his faithful pursuit of the mission proposed in The Invention of Solitude, to explore the ‘infinite possibilities of a limited space’ . . . . The effect [of 4 3 2 1] is almost cubist in its multidimensionality—that of a single, exceptionally variegated life displayed in the round. . . . [An] impressively ambitious novel.”—Harper’s Magazine

“Auster’s magnificent new novel is reminiscent ofInvisible in that it deals with the impossibility of containing a lifein a single story . . . . Undeniably intriguing . . . . A mesmerizing chronicle of one character’s four lives . . . The finest—though one hopes, farfrom final—act in one of the mightiest writing careers of the last half century.”—Paste Magazine

Wonderfully clever . . . . 4 3 2 1 is much more than a pieceof literary gamesmanship . . . . It is a heartfeltand engaging piece of storytelling that unflinchingly explores the 20thcentury American experience in all its honor and ignominy. This is, withoutdoubt, Auster’s magnum opus. . . . A true revelation . . . One can’t help but admit they are in the presence of a genius.”—Toronto Star

“A multitiered examination of the implications of fate . . . in which the structure of the book reminds us of its own conditionality. . . . A signifier of both possibility and its limitations.”—The Washington Post

“At the heart of this novel is a provocative question: What would have happened if your life hadtaken a different turn at a critical moment? . . . Ingenious.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Auster presents four lovingly detailed portrayals ofthe intensity of youth – of awkwardness and frustration, but also of passion forbooks, films, sport, politics and sex. . . . [Trying] to think of comparisons [to the novel] . . . [nothing] is exactly right . . . . What he is driving at is not only the role of contingency and the unexpected, but the ‘what-ifs’ that haunt us, the imaginary lives we hold in our minds that run parallel to our actual existence.”—The Guardian

“Draws the reader in fromthe very first sentence and does not let go until the very end. . . . An absorbing, detailed account – four accounts! – of growing up in the decades following World War II. . . . Auster’sprose is never less than arresting .. . . In addition to being a bildungsroman, “4321” is a “künstlerroman,” aportrait of the artist as a young man whose literary ambition is evident evenin childhood. . . . I emerged from . . . this prodigious book eager for more.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Leaves readers feeling they know every minute detail of [Ferguson’s] inner life, as if they were lifelong companions and daily confidants. . . . It’s like an epic game of MASH: Will Ferguson grow up in Montclair or Manhattan? Excel in baseball or basketball? Date girls or love boys too? Live or die? . . . A detailed landscape . . . for readers who like taking the scenic route.”—TIME Magazine

“Auster pays tribute to what Rose Ferguson thinks of as a ‘dear, dirty, devouring New York, the capital of human faces, the horizontal Babel of human tongues.’. . . Sprawling . . . occasionally splendid.”—The New Yorker

“A bona fide epic . . . both accessible and formally daring.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

Inventive, engrossing.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Arresting .. . . A hugely accomplished work, a novel unlike any other.”—The National (UAE)

“Brilliantly rendered,intricately plotted . . . a magnum opus.”—Columbia Magazine

“Auster’s first novel inseven years is . . . . an ingenious move . . . . Auster’s sense of possibility, his understanding of what all his Fergusons have in common, with us and one another, is a kind of quiet intensity, a striving to discover who they are. . . . [He] reminds us that not just life, but also narrative is always conditional, that it only appears inevitable after the fact.”—Kirkus (starred review)

“Auster has been turning readers’ heads for three decades, bending the conventions of storytelling . . . . He now presents his most capacious, demanding, eventful, suspenseful, erotic, structurally audacious, funny, and soulful novel to date . . . [a] ravishing opus.”—Booklist (starred review)

Rich and detailed. It’s about accidents of fate, and the people and works of art and experiences that shape our lives even before our birth—what reader doesn't vibrate at that frequency?”—Lydia Kiesling, Slate

“Auster illuminates how the discrete moments in one’s life form the plot points of a sprawling narrative, rife with possibility.”—Library Journal (starred review)

Mesmerizing . . . . A wonderful work of realist fiction and well worth the time.”—Read it Forward

Frisky and sinuous . . . energetic. . . . A portrait of a cultural era coming into being . . . the era that is our own.”—Tablet magazine

“Almost everything about Auster's new novel is big. . . Satisfyingly rich in detail . . . . A significant and immersive entry to a genre that stretches back centuriesand includes Augie March and Tristram Shandy.”—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Paul Auster; read by the author

Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, the Prix Médicis Étranger, the Independent Spirit Award, and the Premio Napoli. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
"Auster has an enormous talent for creating worlds that are both fantastic and believable. . . . His novels are uniformly difficult to put down, a testament to his storytelling gifts."—Timothy Peters, San Francisco Chronicle

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